Chapter 35 – Master Chef Should be Arrogant!
Translated by Prosperousfood.com
Rehosted by Gumihou at kitchennovel.com
Edited by Gumihou
A week ago, when Tian Xiaodu informed everyone that he was going to get Ye Chui to serve Elder Han in his place, a lot of the chefs were rather unhappy. They felt that this Ye Chui was too arrogant. Did he think that just because he had a few tricks up his tricks he could satisfy an experienced gourmet like Elder Han? However, now that Elder Han had refused to even taste any of the signature dishes of the chefs. The five star reputation of Wan Lai Fu all depended on Ye Chui now.
At Yang Yong’s words, the chefs turned their eyes at the young person busy moving about in the kitchen. As though he had felt the eyes of everyone, Ye Chui turned around and smiled at them, “I’m all done.”
The chefs all came in to the kitchen to stare at the kitchen table, there were a total of four dishes: one cold and three hot.
Compared to the incredibly fragrant La Zi Ji, the impact of these four dishes were rather underwhelming. Where it lacked in impact, it made up for in intoxication. Tian Xiaodu looked forward to Ye Chui’s dishes the most. Earlier, Elder Han’s compliments had darkened his mood a bit, but when faced with these few dishes, his feelings lifted. He rushed to ask, “Younger brother, just what are these dishes?”
Ye Chui was in the middle of wiping his hands, at Tian Xiaodu’s question, he smiled. He pointed at a chicken dish served in a soup tureen, “This one is called Stewed Chicken with Mushroom, it’s made from that temperamental Tibetan chicken just now.”
At the mention of the Tibetan Chicken, Fang Tao’s face darkened just a little. This guy was still heartbroken over his car…
The Stewed Chicken with Mushroom exuded a gentle chicken fragrance. Aside from the Tibetan chicken, Ye Chui also bought other important ingredients from the fresh market. He purchased wild honey fungus, needle mushrooms as well as other ingredients that would best highlight the tender flavour of chicken.
The next dish Ye Chui pointed out smelled a little like rice wine, “This is Shaoxing Drunken Chicken.” The next dish was most outstanding in terms of colour, four colours: white, red, green and yellow contrasted most attractively against each other. Those who saw this dish could not help but declare this as ‘Dong’an Chicken’.
These two dishes, one simple, one complex, were both equally brilliant in their presentation. All who saw had no choice but to admire it.
Finally, everyone moved their attention towards the fourth dish. Compared to the last three dishes, it looked rather bland. It was a cold dish, finely sliced chicken skin and shredded cucumber. When set together with the other three dishes, it felt out of place.
When Fang Tao saw the first three dishes, though he had not yet tasted any of them, he felt that these were true high class dishes. However, the fact that the fourth dish was a cold dish somehow pissed him off. He knew that though cold dishes looked easy to make, it was actually quite complex. That was the reason why he decided to serve Elder Han his most prided cold dish ‘Three Threads of Freshness’. Who would have thought that Elder Han had just dismissed it without even tasting anything? Anyway, it just really annoyed him that Ye Chui had also made a cold dish.
He pointed at the fourth dish and questioned Ye Chui, “Mr. Ye, what is the name of this cold dish?”
“This is called Hong Word Chicken with Shredded Cucumber. Of the 328 dishes in the Machu Han Banquet, this is one of the Royal Cold Dishes.” Ye Chui smiled coolly.
The whole of the Manchu Han Banquet was separated into 4 classes: Common, Fine, Royal and Diet. The ‘Diet’ category was actually the most celebrated royal dishes in the Manchu Banquet, where the ingredients were veritable treasures of unmatched value and nearly impossible to obtain. However, Royal dishes were the ones chefs paid most attention to. Though the ingredients were not extravagant, they showed off the skills of the chefs even more. Hong Word Chicken with Shredded Cucumber is under the [Royal] category. Though it looked simple, it was actually the most outstanding chicken dish that Ye Chui had prepared today.
“No matter how I look at it, it’s just a simple dish, could it really be one of the Manchu Han Banquet recipes?”
“Does this dish really have that kind of history? And what’s this ‘Royal Cold Dishes’ thing?”
All the chefs were shocked, they had all heard of the Manchu Han Banquet, and knew that recipes from these banquets were the pinnacle of Chinese cuisine. However, thanks to the Vegetarian Movement, records of the Manchu Han recipes were even more incomplete than those in Ye Chui’s world. Nevertheless, the mere mention of any dishes in connection with the Banquet was enough to garner admiration, only, it’s still kind of hard to believe that this simple looking dish actually qualified as a Manchu Han dish.
Fang Tao’s expression darkened, he said in a slightly disbelieving voice, “This… this thing is a Manchu Han… Mr. Ye, from what I understand the Manchu Han Banquet are considered the courtly feast of emperors, where everything served to the emperor had to be be prepared with great skill and difficulty. How could such a simple looking dish be considered courtly?”
“Great cooking depends on true depth of skill, not fancy decorations.”
At Fang Tao’s words, Ye Chui knew that this brat won’t believe whatever he said, therefore he did not bother to say anything else. Instead, he turned to Yang Yong and said, “Manager Yang, please send these dishes out, as for whether the flavours are good, well, I shall expect Elder Han will let you know.”
Stewed Chicken with Mushroom, Shaoxing Drunken Chicken, Dong’an Chicken, and Hong Word Chicken with Shredded Cucumbers. Ye Chui had prepared these four dishes especially for Elder Han — Yang Yong should consider himself lucky to have Ye Chui personally prepare all these for him on a mere $100,000.
When Yang Yong finally regained his senses, he quickly waived for the waiters and waitresses to take these dishes out. The other chefs were also curious about these dishes, just how would Elder Han judge these dishes? The old man was really famous for his curiously strict taste, and the chefs were all impatient to find out how Ye Chui’s dishes measure up.
In contrast, Ye Chui was almost too calm. He had started to pack up his belongings — to him, Elder Han was but one food critic among many he had had to entertained through his years as a professional chef, how could he be anxious?
In fact, if that Elder Han was not happy with dishes, Ye Chui dared to bet that there’s something wrong with the old man’s tongue — a master chef has to have such confidence on himself!
Yang Yong made to follow his train of wait staff, but hesitated at the entrance to the dining hall. Just now the only dish Elder Han had shown interest in was the La Zi Ji, and had specifically called to see the chef who made it. He realized too that it was entirely possible that Elder Han will show positive reaction towards Ye Chui’s four dishes. If he admitted that these dishes were made by an outsider rather than a chef of Wan Lai Fu, wouldn’t that just credit Ye Chui unnecessarily…
A week ago he thought that Ye Chui was someone of great influence, and would not have hesitated this way. However, this week he had finally found out that this Ye Chui brat was someone with barely any influence — what influence could a mere mutton skewer stall operator have? For this man he had inadvertently offended Cao Xiong and son.
Yang Yong seethed at thought of having been tricked by this brat, his eye twitched and he made a abrupt turn around. He sought out Tian Xiaodu, “Chef Tian, come up with me. Elder Han wishes to see you.”
“Elder Han wants to see me?” Tian Xiaodu was a little shocked, but, didn’t Elder Han already shown displeasure over his La Zi Ji?
“Enough, let’s go at once.” Yang Yong said as he herded Tian Xiaodu away from the kitchen.
Ye Chui ignored this little play as he continued to pack up his things, having already dismissed Elder Han from his mind. Hmm, he he return home now, he should still have enough time to set up his mutton stall…
When Yang Yong and Tian Xiaodu made it to the second floor private dining rooms, Ye Chui’s four dishes had already been set out in front of Elder Han. The old man studied the dishes with dignified expression. After a long time, he finally picked up his chopsticks and plucked a piece of chicken from the dish of Shaoxing Drunken Chicken and placed it in his mouth. As he chewed, the normally unhappy expression suddenly went slack, his eyes rounded and he looked shocked.
Without tasting the other dishes he first eyed Yang Yong, then Tian Xiaodu and said, “Did you make this dish?”
Tian Xiaodu was about to answer when Yang Yong cut in quickly, “That’s right, this is Wan Lau Fu’s most capable chef Tian Xiaodu. These dishes are all Chef Tian’s master works.”
Tian Xiaodu looked at Yang Yong with shocked, he had no idea why this manager was telling all these fibs now. Yang Yong glared at Tian Xiaodu and hurriedly continued, “The La Zi Ji from before was also Chef Tian’s work.”
Elder Han who was about to reach for a something else on the table suddenly stopped, he eyed Tian Xiaodu. “So, the La Zi Ji and the dishes here are all made by you?”
“This…” Tian Xiaodu was reluctant to tell lies.
Yang Yong leapt in once more, “That’s right, that’s right, Chef Tian is out Wan Lau Fu’s five star chef…”
“Come here!” Elder Han said, waving his hand at Yang Yong.
After a stunned silence, Yang Yong happily presented himself in front of Elder Han. “Elder Han, what is your command?”
“What is this?” asked Elder Han, pointing at his mouth.
“A mouth.” Yang Yong answered hesitantly, he had no idea where Elder Han was going on with this.
“Who’s mouth?” Elder Han continued.
“Your… your mouth.” Yang Yong answered stupidly.[Pa!]
Elder Han had just slapped Yang Yong in the face, he roared, “Since you know the food enters my mouth, do you really think that I would not be able to tell the quality of these dishes and that La Zi Ji?”